Matthew Clifford, Director of Leadership Research at WestEd, will present the opening session at NAESP’s National Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference will be held on February 27 through March 2, 2022.
NAESP’s National Leaders Conference (NLC) gathers elementary and middle school principal leaders from across the country to build attendees’ leadership skills, knowledge of how federal policies and programs affect principals and schools, and capacity to advocate for these issues.
Clifford’s session, to be held on February 28, will focus on Leaders We Need Now, a first-of-its-kind study looking at the impact of the crises of 2020–2021 on the principal profession and what principals need to help students and schools recover and succeed.
For the study, NAESP and the NAESP Foundation asked American Institutes for Research to conduct focus groups of NAESP members to assess the impact of these crises on the profession and how policymakers can meet new needs. The study’s findings are published in three briefs.
Clifford coauthored the first brief in the series, Leaders in Tumult: Schooling Innovations and New Perspectives from a Year Interrupted, with Jane Coggshall of the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research. In the brief, principals describe how their schools changed in 2020–21 and reflect on which changes might remain.
At WestEd, Clifford oversees research, policy, and professional development projects on educational leadership and workforce development. His research examines ways for leaders to create schools focused on student equity and achievement. Clifford is also co-principal investigator on the Wallace Foundation’s Equity-Centered Principal Pipeline research study.